Flying in the marvelous high country of the United States and around the world has drawn pilots into it for decades for its adventure and requirement for developing skill. With those masters of the craft posting their stories on social media, more and more pilots have expressed the desire to join them. American Legend Aircraft is seizing this desire and translating it into a brand-new model of their popular Legend Cub—a backcountry version—called the MOAC, Mother Of All Cubs.
The new model will incorporate a bunch of performance enhancements and features driven by customer input over the 15 years since the Legend Cub first debuted in 2005. “After years of lessons learned, including an 80-year Piper history, we build our Cubs to alleviate potential problems,” said Darin Hart, president of American Legend. “This includes fit-and-finish, engine performance, and control systems. Doors and trim fit to perfection, and we often use common PMA-standard parts for easy serviceability. Our engine choices provide hours of reliability and proven service. Placement of physical controls are optimized to ensure freedom of motion from stop to stop without annoying interference issues so often present in other designs.”
First up? More horsepower—which has more than doubled since the first Legend Cub. Continental’s Titan series of engines makes possible up to 208 hp (187 to 195 max continuous power), and several prop options from Cato, Whirlwind, and Hartzell give pilots a lot of potential performance gains welcomed when going into confined-area and high-altitude airstrips.
Next on the list: configuration upgrades. Flaps now run full-span from root to aileron with 20- and 40-degree increments. Leading-edge slats and optimized wing tips contribute to the performance gains as well—the MOAC can take off in its own length, according to the company. Balanced ailerons make for a light touch on the flight controls, and the tail surfaces have been updated to match the airplane’s higher power-to-weight ratio.
American Legend notes that backcountry pilots really crave better suspension, and the MOAC is purported to deliver on this as well. “The pinnacle of modern landing gear comes from TK1 Racing with its Shock Monster front suspension,” said the company in a press release. “Shock Monster is a nitrogen-charged air/oil shock assembly. Designed for the harshest of bush flying zones, the oil dampened system eats up all the landing aircraft’s stored energy on compression. A dual shock setup delivers the security of redundancy, unbelievable cushioning and, best of all, zero bounce back. Shock travel of 4.50 inches equates to about 12–14 inches at the wheel.”
With a Garmin G3X or G5 integrated flight deck up front, the cockpit differs from the Cubs of yore as well. There’s a mount for the pilot’s iPad or navigator, and LED lighting and lithium-ion batteries are standard, along with USB power ports—just don’t forget to pack your devices safely away from the bears once you land and shut down the engine for the night’s camping.